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‘It’s not just me against Russell’ - Lambert looking forward to Canaries reunion with Martin

PUBLISHED: 14:33 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:50 02 October 2020

Paul Lambert and Russell Martin will go head-to-head this weekend. Picture: PA

Paul Lambert and Russell Martin will go head-to-head this weekend. Picture: PA

Archant

Paul Lambert is looking forward to a reunion with Russell Martin this weekend but stressed his former defender will need to learn the hard way.

MK Dons boss Russell Martin played under the management of Paul Lambert at Norwich City. Photos: Archant/PAMK Dons boss Russell Martin played under the management of Paul Lambert at Norwich City. Photos: Archant/PA

Lambert managed Martin at Wycombe and then again at Norwich, where the two combined to help take the Canaries from League One all the way to the Premier League.

Martin is now in his first full season in management, having taken the MK Dons job during last season, with Lambert pleased to have the opportunity to go head-to-head with a player he’s always enjoyed working with.

“I had him down at Wycombe as well as Norwich and he was a terrific pro and a really good guy who was great to have around,” he said.

“I have nothing but thanks to him for what he gave myself and the teams he played for under me.

Paul Lambert signed Russell Martin for Norwich City in 2009. Photo: Steve AdamsPaul Lambert signed Russell Martin for Norwich City in 2009. Photo: Steve Adams

“He’s a young guy starting out his managerial career and is going to have ups and downs. I’ve probably got that little bit more experience and more games under my belt, but he’s just starting out.

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“He’ll have ups and downs both on and off the pitch which I’m pretty sure he’ll handle well. I don’t view this as me against Russell because it will be nice to see him.

“We have the odd text now and again but it will be nice to see him.”

Asked if he always expected Martin to make the jump into management, Lambert said: “You’re never quite sure whether that’s the path people are going to go down.

“You think you want to get into it and then after three games you can sometimes feel like you want to get back out of it.

“But he’s a bright guy, not a silly guy, so it will be good to see him.

“A lot of my former players call me and text me, which is nice, and I like to think we had a good relationship.

“It’s not just about football, it’s about staying in touch, which is nice. I have a good relationship with a lot of the guys.”

Dons have lost two and drawn one of their opening three games but Martin has stressed he’s pleased with the way his side are playing despite the results.

“You have to be winning games, that’s the nature of it, you have to try and win,” Lambert said, when that was put to him.

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“It doesn’t matter how well you’re playing or how badly you’re playing – getting results is the main thing.

“If you can do it in style, great. If you have to battle it out, great.

“The more he’s in it the more he’ll realise that I’m sure. But if he’s happy with how his team’s playing then that’s his opinion and that’s the only one that matters.

“It’s really early and while they’ve lost a couple of games it’s too early to judge.

“You can’t really judge it until 10 or 12 games into it because everyone’s still finding their feet. It’s a strange situation with the long lay-off and no fans.

“There’s a long way to go and I wouldn’t put too much significance into things with three games gone.”


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